Research

The History Department at Northeastern fosters engagement of its majors in independent research through a sequence of three research seminars, at the freshmen, middler and senior levels, and through individual faculty mentorship. The seminars taught by full-time faculty put much emphasis on defining research projects and refining writing skills. Our middler seminar also fulfills the University Writing Requirement. Department faculty have been very successful in identifying talented students in the lower-level seminars and in lecture courses; often faculty have then successfully channeled such students into university-supported undergraduate research programs during their upper-class years.

As a result of experiences gained as History majors, many of our students have graduated with honors, and on average of three to four of our majors have won Provost Undergraduate Research Grants each of the last five years. After graduation, some of our majors have won Fulbright fellowships or have entered competitive graduate programs. For example, the two Fulbright students celebrated by Northeastern this September, Matthew Shutzer and Tom Jay Cinq Mars, graduated with History degrees in Spring 2010. At times our faculty also sponsor undergraduate research for majors from other units, such as International Affairs. For his highly successful efforts in undergraduate mentorship, Professor Jeffrey Burds won the 2011 Portz Award from the Honors Program. In the future we will work to have an even broader range of our faculty members participate in these important mentorship and research activities.

Below please find a list of History undergraduate students who have received grants for their research and their faculty mentors.

2011
Kelsey Bacon received the Gladys Brooks Undergraduate Award for 2011-2012, which supports her honors project “The Cambridge Five: A Biographical Account of Five King’s Men Who Spied for Stalin.” In addition, Kelsey won a Provost Undergraduate Research Award for 2011-2012 to support research in archives in London and Washington, D.C. Professor Jeffrey Burds advises her research project.

Tom Jay Cinq Mars was awarded a 2011-2012 Fulbright Scholarship to conduct research at Kazan State University in Russia. His work focuses on the relationship between the secret police and student movements 19th-century Russia. Professor Jeffrey Burds has been the mentor for this and Tom’s earlier research project (see 2010, 2008, and 2007).

Karyn DeSena was awarded a spring 2011 Provost Undergraduate Research Award. She conducted research at Boston and Harvard libraries, and Yale University’s Near East Collection for her study of Soviets in the Tudeh Party under the direction of Professor Tom Havens.

Emily Falconer received a Honors Senior Fellowship Award for 2011-2012, which funds her honors project “1938: The Munich Conference, the Molotov Ribbentrop Pact, and Espionage on the Eve of World War II.” Emily also received a Provost Undergraduate Research Award for 2011-2012 to support research in London and Moscow. She has worked with Professor Jeffrey Burds on her research and award applications.

Matthew Shutzer won a 2011-2012 Fulbright Scholarship to conduct research in India. Matthew works on the relationship between agricultural communities and local forests. He specifically focuses on how impoverished people manage forest resources in terms of social access and environmental sustainability. Professor Ilham Khuri-Makdisi was a mentor to Matthew during his Fulbright application.

2010
Tom Jay Cinq Mars was awarded a U.S. Department of State Critical Languages Scholarship for study in Kazan, Russia during summer 2010. Tom Jay was also the recipient of a Presidential Scholarship under the mentorship of Professor Jeffrey Burds.

Regina Kazyulina won a Gladys Brooks Undergraduate Award for 2010-2011. She conducted research in archives in Kiev, Ukraine, for her project, “Life in Nazi Occupied Kiev.” Regina was also the recipient of the spring 2010 Provost Undergraduate Research award. She worked on this project with Professor Jeffrey Burds.

Robin Scharf won an Honors Senior Fellow for 2010-2011. He conducted research for his project, “Pioneers in American Shadow Warfare: The Jedburghs.” Robin was also the recipient of a spring 2010 Provost Undergraduate Research award. These grants supported research in London at the National Archives, as well as archives in Paris and Washington, D.C., under the direction of  Professor Jeffrey Burds.

2009
Kay Beach, an International Affairs and History major, won a Provost Undergraduate Research Grant together with Alexander Wright (Economics/International Affairs) for their study
”Uganda Community Assessment.” Human Services Academic Specialist Lori Gardinier advised the project.

Matthew Evola received a spring 2009 Provost Undergraduate Research Award for his project, entitled “American Covert Operations in Soviet-occupied Czechoslovakia 1944-1948.” He was also an Honors Senior Fellow for 2008-2009, which supported research in Prague archives. Matt worked with Professor Jeffrey Burds on this project.

Iman Omar received a Faculty-Undergraduate Research Initiative Award (FURI) for a research project on “Rock and Revolution in Detroit: John Sinclair and the MC-5” under the direction of Professor Timothy Brown.

Elizabeth Veit won a grant from the Honors program for her research on Terezin/Thereienstadt, a showcase German concentration camp in Czechoslovakia, with guidance from Professor Jeffrey Burds. She also won a Provost Undergraduate Research Grant to support research at the Weiner Library in London and the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC.

2008
Tom Jay Cinq Mars won the award for best undergraduate research poster in the Social Sciences at the Faculty-Student Research Expo at NU in Spring 2008 for his project on the NKVD in the Spanish Civil War. His advisor on this project was Professor Jeffrey Burds.

Valerie Gurzenda, an International Affairs major, was awarded a Provost Undergraduate Research Grant in 2008/2009 to conduct research on “Urban-Rural Divergences in Modern China: Growth Versus Stagnation,” under the direction of History professor Christina Gilmartin. Gurzenda presented her findings with a poster at a NU special research exhibit during the spring of 2010.

Sarah Robey was the recipient of a Matthews Undergraduate Research Award in her senior year. With the award, conducted research at several photographic archives, including the Library of Congress and The University of Louisville Photograph Archives, which houses the Roy Stryker Collections. Sarah’s capstone project, directed by Professor Harvey Green, was on photographer Dorothea Lange who worked for the Farm Security Administration under Stryker. Sarah is now a doctoral candidate at Temple University in US history.

2007
Tom Jay Cinq Mars received a Gladys Brooks Undergraduate Award to support this research on the NKVD in the Spanish Civil War, traveling in summer 2007 to Salamanca, Spain, to work in Los Archivos de la Guerra Civil Española under the mentorship of Professor Jeffrey Burds.

Rebecca Dufendach won a Provost Research Grant for her project, “Mexican Women’s Social Activism.” Rebecca used the grant to travel to Mexico in the summer of 2007 to conduct research on the role of women in the Oaxaca teachers’ strike of 2006 and its historical antecedents. Professor Laura Frader served as Rebecca’s advisor.

Jahel Dumornay was awarded a Provost Research Grant to conduct research under the guidance of Professor Laura Frader for her project on the colonial foundations of racial distinctions and racial conflict in Rwanda.

Cynthia Walker won a Provost Undergraduate Research Grant to study the day-to-day functions of the Mount Rushmore National Park near Rapid City, South Dakota. Ms. Walker used the grant to shadow a ranger, study crowd control, aid in several park projects, and investigate the landscape. Professor Harvey Green served as Cynthia’s advisor.

2006
Jeremy Parker received a spring 2006 Provost Undergraduate Research Grant for his project with Professor Tom Havens on “Social Movements in Postwar Japan.”

Ilya Luvish won a Gladys Brooks Research Fellowship from the Honors program and a Provost Undergraduate Research Grant to support seven months of research at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, Israel. Ilya completed a senior honors thesis on anti-Jewish pogroms in Poland and Ukraine after World War II under the direction of Professor Jeffrey Burds.

Katlyn Porter-Mahoney received a Provost’s Research Grant to research German archives for her project, “Primacy of Ideology? ‘Sonderlager L’ and Nazi Intelligence on the Eastern Front,” working with Professors Jeffrey Burds and Tim Brown.

Catherine Nunez received a FURI (Faculty-Undergraduate Research Initiative) Fellowship for spring semester 2006 for her work with Professor Laura Frader on “Gender, Race, and French Colonialism.”

Alice Saunders won a Senior Honors grant for 2005-2006 to support her thesis research on American soldiers’ opposition to the Vietnam War. Alice also received a Provost Research Grant to support this research in the Congressional Archives in Washington, DC and the State archives of Georgia. In April 2006, Alice won a “Best Paper” award at the Phi Alpha Theta New England conference at Yale University. Professor Jeffrey Burds served as her advisor.